Study Finds That Forcing A Smile At Work Can Lead To Heavier Drinking

April 18, 2019
Man, Suit, Drinking, Beer, Bar, Stressed

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At the end of a long day at work, if you’ve found yourself having to force a smile to annoying coworkers or an unruly boss, you might be tempted to crack open a bottle or two to relieve the tension.

Research has found that is completely a scientific reaction.

Researchers from Penn State and the University of Buffalo have found that those who regularly fake positive emotions and suppress the negative ones are often heavier drinkers.

Penn State psychology professor Alicia Grandey believes this puts a damper into any business with a “service with a smile” policy.  She says, “Faking and suppressing emotions with customers was related to drinking beyond the stress of the job or feeling negatively.  It wasn't just feeling badly that makes them reach for a drink. Instead, the more they have to control negative emotions at work, the less they are able to control their alcohol intake after work.”

The researchers also found that those who routinely interact with the public at their jobs generally drank more after work than those who didn’t (no surprise there.) Specifically, employees with one-time encounters with customers, like a call center or coffee shop, were more likely to drink after “surface acting” compared to employees in a field like health care or education.